Republican Gov. Paul LePage on Tuesday brushed aside polling data that suggests Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump would lose to the Democratic nominee in the general election. Instead, LePage predicted a Trump victory if the billionaire businessman chooses the right running mate.
LePage said Tuesday morning during a radio interview on WVOM that Trump’s choice for a running mate will be crucial and that the bombastic real estate mogul would “win handily” if he chooses Republican Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval for vice president.
“Brian Sandoval is probably one of the brightest men in America,” said LePage. “He’s been a federal judge, he’s been governor of Nevada. He’s done a marvelous job. … I’m not in the inner circle [about Trump’s running mate choice]; I just think he’s a great, wonderful man.”
Sandoval’s national profile was given a boost in recent weeks when he was discussed publicly as a possible U.S. Supreme Court nominee for President Barack Obama. However, Sandoval has said he would decline that nomination.
LePage’s comments came just a few days after he endorsed Trump’s campaign on Friday, after previously being critical of him. In addition to a New York Times report that claimed LePage railed against Trump during a meeting of Republican governors n Washington, D.C., last week, LePage has thrown barbs Trump’s way right here in Maine.
In January, LePage told conservative radio host Howie Carr that Trump is “pushing in the right direction” but that his ideas could increase the national debt. And then in early February, during another appearance on WVOM, LePage ended the interview with the following quote:
“I’m not a big fan of Donald Trump, although he should give me a stipend or give me a bonus for starting this whole thing about being outspoken,” said LePage.
LePage has obviously changed his tune. He said Tuesday that since no support is growing for the Republican governors who have been in the presidential race, he is now a Trump supporter.
“He’s trying to take the apathy out of society and the gridlock out of Washington,” said LePage of Trump. “It’s not good enough to be a politician as usual. You’ve got to represent somebody and something.”